3 dead after small plane crashes into Fort Lauderdale parking lot

Posted on: 6:26 pm, March 15, 2013, by

CNN image

CNN image

(CNN) — A twin-engine plane crashed late Friday afternoon in a Fort Lauderdale, Florida, parking lot, killing all three people onboard, authorities said.

The Piper PA31 aircraft went down around 4:30 p.m., soon after departing Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport, said Kathleen Bergen, a spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration.

Fort Lauderdale fire Division Chief John San Angelo told CNN affiliate WPEC that all three people on the plane died in the crash.

“(There was) a lot of damage, a lot of fire — I don’t think anybody could make it through that,” San Angelo said.

That said, there were no fatalities or injuries among people on the ground, he added.

The aircraft had taken off from the airport, then tried to circle back and land, according to Fort Lauderdale city spokeswoman Shannon Vezina.

It didn’t make it.

Chris Jewett said that he was in his office building across the street when he saw the aircraft go down in a parking lot he said was for cars that had been towed.

“The whole building shook,” he told CNN. “It (felt) like somebody crashed into the building.”

Heading outside, Jewett noticed surging flames as well as billowing black smoke.

“Three of four (parked vehicles) actually blew up, the rest caught on fire,” he said. “You couldn’t really look in.”

Overhead video from CNN affiliate WSVN showed firefighters in a parking lot, hosing down a number of cars and trucks that had been charred in the incident. The plane itself was essentially unrecognizable.

San Angelo, from the Fort Lauderdale fire department, said the aircraft hit a tree and a fence before slamming into seven vehicles and a boat.